Historical Chania
Historical Chania

Kydonia, Alchania, La Canea, Chania...

The Venice of the East, the city of jasmine, the jewel of Crete! Myths, legends, ancient kings and voracious conquerors who envied its beauty elevated Chania to a city of dreams, a city of legend.

Today, with its secret well hidden in the depths of the centuries, it waits with nostalgia for new civilizations to teach history again, to give light again...

Archaeological area of Kastelli

The settlement excavated in the city of Chania, centered on Kasteli hill, is the most important in the prefecture. Large houses with well-built rooms, well-kept floors with circular pits - hearths, walls plastered with deep red mortar, regular doorways and ceramic products of excellent quality indicate that this is a major Proto-Minoan centre.

This settlement is the most important in western Crete. Its location is ideal, because not only is it adjacent to the sea, but it is also surrounded by the rich plain of Chania, thus meeting all the conditions for the development of both agriculture and fishing and maritime trade. This was confirmed by the extensive excavations that began in 1964 in the square of Agia Aikaterini and continue to this day, always with many difficulties, limited to the few free spaces of the densely populated area.

The hill was continuously inhabited from Proto-Minoan times to the present day, with the result that the excavated layers are very numerous and often very thin in thickness, which creates insurmountable difficulties in their dating and identification, so that the excavations in this area are considered among the most difficult of their kind.

During the following Middle Minoan period (first half of the second millennium BC), the settlement of Chania developed into a dynamic center. It is the period in which the first palatial facilities appear in Crete. While the economy remains agricultural, trade and shipping are developing at the same time. Trading posts are established outside the island and colonies are established. Such a relationship connects Crete with the nearby island of Kythira. The similarity of the pottery from Kasteli and Kastri of Kythira is characteristic. The Chanio ceramic workshop produces products that follow the rhythms of central Crete (dark on light, light on dark, rough rhythm, camaraic rhythm), while there is no shortage of ceramics imported from the rest of Crete.

Unfortunately, the Middle Minoan building phases of the Kastelli settlement have been destroyed by the extensive building activity in the immediately following periods and very few remains have survived. Building remains of both the Proto-Minoan and Middle-Minoan times that have been identified in various places in the current center of the city of Chania (Municipal Market area and further east) perhaps indicate a modular structure of the prehistoric settlement, while its center always remains the hill at the Old Port.

Roman Theater of ancient Aptera

The theater of ancient Aptera is located on the southern wall of the ancient city, near its southeastern entrance. Its current form belongs to the Roman phase and arose after a radical reconstruction of the earlier Hellenistic theater. The pews were repositioned on a brick plinth, while the stage was replaced by a more imposing Roman one.

In later years, a lime kiln was built in the middle of the hollow, which altered the construction of the theater. Its builders had incorporated architectural elements of the theater, while the limestone benches were the raw material for the preparation of lime. The hollow, 54.68 m in diameter, corresponded to 26 rows of seats.

Today, 43 pews survive in their place, in stepped mudstone construction, and part of the central staircase. Also, the 13 lowest foundation levels due to newer leveling operations for field cultivation have been revealed. The appearance of the stage is formed by three large niches, which corresponded to three doors, while east and west of the foreground were formed the backstage. Today, maintenance and excavation work has been carried out by the relevant Archaeological Service.

The Byzantine Wall

The original fortification of the city of Chania, the one that surrounds the hill of Kastelli, has been founded on the remains of an older fortification from the Hellenistic times.Most of the Byzantine wall was built with building material from ancient Kydonia in second use.Its outline is irregular and consists of straight sections, interrupted by small rectangular or polygonal towers.The wall in some places simply complements the natural rock fortress, while from the south and part of the east and west sides, it completely covers the need to protect the city.In the wall there were four gates which have been demolished today.

The two main gates were the western one towards Syntrivaniou square and the eastern one at the intersection of Canevaros and Daskalogianni streets.The other two smaller ones were one on the south side, at the junction of Katre and Karaoli-Dimitriou streets, and one on the north, at the height of the Turkish Prisons towards Afenduliyev street.

More: http://chaniahistory.gr